Let's get personal a moment. We live in a world where it's hard to get personal. No more cosy campfire moments to share your inner thoughts and soul. So, on this Friday evening, let's pretend we're around a campfire of sorts. Join me for a chat about how fantasy books can help your self-care. Can you empower yourself through fantasy stories? I 150% believe YES!
I don't share too much about myself all that often, but I'd love to share just a tad with you this evening. It fits my message, belief, and mission in empowering through fantasy stories. When I was a child, I was very ill. I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital, some time out of school and having to be home-schooled, and suffered bullying regularly (partly because of the illness and partly because of who I was: the quiet, nerdy, fantasy-loving girl in the class). I love who I've grown into, and over the years, the many things I've experienced have shaped me into someone I love being. So, that's not something we'll be talking about today. Today is talking about what helped me grow and dream: fantasy.
I said above I was the quiet, nerdy, fantasy-loving girl, and that's very accurate! I love books, anime, manga, Harry Potter (proud Ravenclaw here), the Lord of the Rings is AMAZING, and everything else I could talk about for days (not quiet on this front!).
Fantasy really gave me the world.
Get cozy, get yourself a fantasy book, and empower yourself
At the time I was ill and couldn't go out, I loved to sit inside and read. I'd daydream of what I'd read, imagine I was in the story with the characters, and experience lives beyond my own.
At times I was bullied, I'd think of how my favourite characters and favourite stories would stand up and feel comfortable being themselves, and think of their adventures. And while I didn't have the courage at the time to stand up loudly, I watched and learned and grew and chose to chase the characters I loved. Role models come from anywhere: in the real world and in fantasy.
At times I felt most down, fantasy was there. And each story brought with it a piece of something that I would add to myself, each building experiences and lives and stories and comrades that I could carry around with me.
Who cares if I couldn't go explore the world? I could explore MANY worlds through books.
My blog fantasy series of short stories The Sorceress and her Apprentice covers in The Lives Within Books my thoughts on the magic and experiences reading can give you, particularly fantasy. I'm an adventurer at heart, and while my circumstances didn't allow it in person, I'd say I've enjoyed my adventurous side in my fantasy experiences.
I go on all kinds of adventures in my daydreams.
Have you watched a movie or read a book that you enjoyed the experience of so much you felt you took a piece of it with you?
When was the last time you read a story where the characters impacted you so much that shutting the book at the end felt like losing friends?
It's a whole world out there, ready to be embraced through fantasy, and it can add value to your life in just as many ways as an actual adventure could (even with the benefit of smaller travel times!).
And, getting serious again, fantasy books have the power to empower.
Fantasy gave me dreams and a purpose when life was unknown and dark. I could have thought it was impossible: small, little me recovering and being who I am now is all thanks to the dreams fantasy stories and worlds gave me. I dared to dream, and dared to dream for better.
Have you ever felt a bit lost and alone, perhaps unable to talk to someone about something for some reason? Things hurt or frustrate you, the walls feel like they're closing in, and what you want feels so far out of reach you blame yourself?
There are so many reasons for feeling powerless. It's normal, and life is filled with ups and downs, with the downs feeling the scariest. Give yourself a chance to breathe, escape this world, and enjoy a world of fantasy.
Which fantasy location will you go to on your first self-empowerment fantasy adventure?
Fantasy books bring escapism: a world beyond the one you're in and a life beyond yours. A chance to escape the stress, the work, the pain, the darkness, and the uncertainty. Where magic and faeries and adventures await, give yourself time to be free.
Fantasy stories are often filled with adventure and heroism and stories of the little guys standing up. Living these moments with the characters, past the challenges and lows, all the way to the top is a feeling of success that will help you in your real life too.
For example, I love Samwise Gamgee. He's the REAL hero of The Lord of the Rings, and his scenes are some of my favourites (besides the battle of Helms deep, of course!). Sam's just a simple gardener who found himself on a journey of danger to destroy an evil ring by being chased by all the bad guys, separated from some of his friends while he follows his friend and employer deeper into the abyss (mentally and physically). No matter what, this small-time gardener saves the day numerous times. He gives me hope to watch.
So, how can fantasy empower you in your real life, too?
Gives you a safe place where anything is possible
Gives you a place to dream and imagine the life you want or something new
Shows you the lives of others, and within that, you can find role models from all kinds of unlikely places
Allows you to experience new worlds and adventures that you can enjoy and learn from
Gives you a place to learn about yourself
Allows you to escape the real world a moment and go somewhere else; take a break
Want to be better, stronger, braver, more adventurous? Find a character you love that inspires you and see how you can relate to them in life, too.
So, to sum up, reading fantasy books allows you to experience countless lives beyond your own, giving you experiences and skills to empower yourself, a safe place to dream and escape from your daily life while you go on adventures with all kinds of other people. You can imagine the life you want or just take a moment to breathe and relax in a place magic exists, a moment for magical self-care, rather than school or work or driving the kids around!
What's your favourite fantasy book?